Sunday, September 29, 2013
Some of you know that a month or two back I found a church online called the Jubilee church. I corresponded via email for awhile to get to know the background and the organization of the church, the dress, the classes, things like that. After corresponding for a few days I for some reason lost total interest. I didn't even have a desire to email the lady back. They seemed to have everything I was looking for..... a mommy and me class, they work with the orphanage, and they feed the hungry in the subways from time to time among other things. However the feeling of wanting to visit this church after a few emails had died suddenly. I wasn't too worried though as Collin had found a church in Gangnam that he said seemed just like the church we came from in Colorado. Rocky Mountain Calvary. RMC was a wonderful and huge church that we attended for the few years we were stationed in Colorado. As we got up this morning Collin tracked down that exact subway route and said, "It looks like the Jubilee Church you were talking about." Ummmmmmm not exactly what I was thinking. I thought I told him I had no plans of going to that church... hummmmm oh well here we go! 3 or 4 subway stops a transfer and another 3 or 4 subway stops and we arrived in Gangnam. Once off the subway we had about a 7-10 minute walk, in dress sandals I might add..... however they are the MOST comfortable dress sandals so I figured we would be ok. I being the we, cause lets face it. If momma's feet were hurting after this walk daddy was going to know about it, but fortunately for Collin and my feet they are pretty comfortable!
Once we got there we found a little cafe on the top floor and got some rice crispy treats for breakfast and I got a mint Iced Mocha! It's actually starting to cool off here but with Audrey strapped to me the whole way I was burning up! 15 minutes later we were down in the sanctuary. Not as big as the 1000's I was used to with RMC but bigger than what I was used to with The City in Geneva Ohio. We sat in the back in case Audrey wanted to get a little loud. We certainly didn't want to make a first bad impression, but I didn't want to send Audrey to the Nursery when I didn't know anything about this church except that they were from New Jersey when they started 7 years ago.
Every last Sunday of the month is family Sunday so the kids join for the first part of praise and worship and we sing kid songs. It cracked me up as even the adults where doing the kids hand motions that they have learned in class I assume. After the 2 songs the kids were dismissed. and I realized that all the babies that I saw were taken to a room in the back of the sanctuary by 1 parent. It was considered a crying room and was were the babies 2 and under (2 and up had class rooms) could play. This also means 1 parent had to stay in the room at all times. Audrey kept starring at all the kids and smiling and waving so after we sang our last song I told Collin that I wanted to let her go play cause she just keeps starring and waving at all the kids. She was so cute getting all happy whenever one child waved back or even a parent for that matter. She would clap or jump in my lap with a smile! So as I was going to take her back, Collin volunteered to go instead. Needless to say it was very distracting throughout the entire service cause every once in awhile I would here a shriek or a cry coming out of that room and I wanted to keep an eye on my baby girl. Audrey had a blast with the other kids!
Ok back to the church part and less of the play part. It seemed very disorganized to me but Collin assured me after church that, that is just how Korean's do things and it makes sense to them. We had Praise and Worship, announcements, prayer, more random announcements and then we got into the sermon. Now up to this point I was very distracted. After Praise and Worship there so many announcements that I practically forgot where I was. Not too mention I was in a new church and essentially by myself since Collin had Audrey in the "Crying Room." Another thing that didn't exactly tick with me was there was a LOT of reading and not a lot of teaching. The Title of the sermon was "How to secure a future" by the time the sermon was over I forgot all about the "How to secure a future" topic. In fact I could tell you very little about what the message was. I certainly didn't get securing my future out of it.
It was very much like a Methodist Church, with raising of the hands and modern Christian music. We started with service with the Apostle Creed, did a lot of silent prayer before every prayer, and did a lot and I mean a lot of out loud group reading and when everyone is reading from different versions of the Bible it can get a little jumbled. Oh yeah and because of the children's songs we only sang 1 other song and that was The Stand by Hillsong (which is a great song) but then we ended the church with the same song which I thought once again was another weird thing about this church. They brought forth all the new decans in the Church which was cool I guess just have never seen such a thing before. During the sermon everywhere I looked everyone was on their phones, mainly because they used phones instead of Bibles and, the 4 that were directly around me where FB'ing the whole time. After the Sermon they did the offering and another series of announcements. Again things were very strange to me and not exactly to my liking, but Collin was pleased with it and since it was an assistant pastor today and the senior pastor will be back next week we may go ahead and give it 1 more try..... or we may move on to another church.
After church we took the subway to Itewan and stopped at Taco Bell for lunch, by the way, in Korea they have Nacho Cheese Chicken Chalupa's and in the states they no longer do unless you special order them and pay extra. Also a funny thing is that the #1 was a chalupa meal but you could only get it in baja. You couldn't do a substitution for the Nacho Cheese. In Korea it is Not an option you get whats on the menu and that is it! After Taco Bell I told Collin I preferred to walk home. After all it was a nice fall day and walking is better for you anyway and cheaper than the subway! Once you get out of Itewan (the main city portion) and you get between there and the Yongsan part of Seoul it turns into a beautiful walk. A path lined with bushes and trees on one side and benches and trees on the other. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful walk but not going to lie, after about 2 miles or more with Audrey strapped to me almost the whole way and dress sandals, as comfortable as they may be my feet were hurting. I was happy when I finally saw the last street to cross until I was home, although Collin misjudged the "go" like for walking and we had to run a cross the last few lanes. We made it and the rest of the day was a lazy one!
Thursday, September 26, 2013
This week has been full of fun and frustrations. All week we have had to get up and go on post for something. Financing, visas, ID cards, NEO stuff (None combative Emergency Operations or something like that. In short it holds all the important paperwork if I was ever to have to flee the country) Housing, TriCare (Insurance) and all kinds of stuff. And of course everyday there is either something always closed, suddenly in a different building, or they are out to lunch. I have learned a very valuable lesson. There are 2 places in this world that can take hours upon hours for less than an hour of work. Military installations and the DMV. Some places are only open on certain days and others are closed on the days the others are opened. Therefore it has been a week long process and we still are not finished. Tomorrow we hopefully can finish up Finance and our NEO stuff. Although it is Friday so I don't really know how productive the day will be.
Monday I really started working on the apartment. I got Audrey's room complete It's cramped and all the closet space is full but its complete. Throughout the week I have been taking care of a few left over boxes, laundry and organizing. Something unheard of even happened today. I have 4 drawers with clothes in them......... I never, never put anything in drawers except for socks and underwear! In fact the only time my clothes are folded is if they are in a suitcase! Tonight I finally have all the clothes finished, put away, and organized........... oh wait........ I still have 4 packed boxes to go and at least 1 of those boxes are clothes :(
Anyway it was not all work and no play this week. We went to some stores, walked around town, and as most of you saw we even went to the zoo yesterday! It was an amazing zoo. So many animals and crazy cheap compared to the states. We took the subway and that was like 4 stops a transfer and another 3 stops before we got to our destination. Which all in all cost both of us round trip about $8.00 at the most. I think it was about $4.00 round trip per person maybe a little less. I am still not great at transferring Won over to dollars so I always shoot a little high. Once we got off of the Subway we walked straight up some steps and out to a wide open path lined with carts selling food, hats, toys and other souvenirs. At the end of the path you could see shooting water which I just knew had to be the gateway to the zoo! Sure enough as we got to the end there was a big entrance to the zoo that sat just past the gallons of water shooting through the air. I can't read any Korean but I quickly found the English word Tickets. Sweet! I have read about the zoo several times online prior to my Korea arrival and have been anxiously waiting to go! I stayed with the stroller and Collin went up and paid $6.00 for two tickets! Seriously 6 bucks! Amazing! As we got to the next floor we found a long line for a tram. Both of us were slightly confused but not seeing any other way we figured we had to be in the right spot. We should the lady our tickets and sure enough we were set to ride the tram to the zoo. After what I thought was a lengthy ride to the zoo main gate we finally arrived. Hummmm the word Tickets is in front of us again. Sure enough we had only bought the tram tickets now we have to buy zoo tickets. Collin and I agreed that this is how the zoo must make their money. Another lesson learned. The Zoo doesn't take credit/debit cards. But I like to always have a little cash on me so I saved the day by having $25 in my wallet. The lady took the American money and returned the change in Won. Again I was amazed! Only $4-5.00 entrance for the both of us! WOOO HOOOO! Once in the zoo we saw so many animals and the habitats were simply amazing! HUGE habitats with lots of playful things and lots of land to roam on. My favorite part was the animal nursery. Those little animals were just too cute and really was worth the hike up hill to go see them. After the nursery we were finally headed to the Dolphin encounters! Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE LOVE LOVE Dolphins! We got to the entrance and found out that the last show was at 1500 Oh man 45 minutes late! However the good news is that we didn't get to see about half the zoo so we have lots to come back to next time including the Dolphins and the petting area where Audrey can feed the animals! Oh yeah and guess how much the tickets to the Dolphin show is???????????? FREE! Shortly after we realized we missed the dolphins we were headed home. Once again had to pay $6.00 to ride the tram and pay the rest of our subway fee. At the zoo we also got ice cream, a bottle water, and Coke for the hubby which cost us $6.00 and on the way back to the subway we got BBQ Chicken on a stick which was 2,000 Won (just under $2.00) So all in all (again rounding up cause I am not that good yet) we spent $33.00 total on our day! How awesome is that? In the states we would have never gotten off that cheap!
I will close with my favorite part of the day! Ok well 2 favorite parts. The first one was I got a new ID card. I know, I know, not real exciting..... but mine was falling apart and I really wanted Collins latest rank on my ID card. He made Chief Back in 2011 and I just now got my updated card. The second was eating at a new place called Craftworks. As some of you might recall Collin has done some photography and an article about the place. Published and all! So today he took me there for lunch. I met the Owner which seemed like a real nice guy. He opened the building we were in 3 years ago and is getting ready to open his 4th. He is doing very well for himself. Plus its one of the few places here where he only hires English speaking wait staff and serves real American food! It really made me feel like I was in a bit of America today....... even though the waitress working were Korean and the owner is from Canada lol!
Ok the family has been asleep for awhile and if my morning is anything like the last 3 mornings Audrey will be up and ready to play by 2am so I must get to bed myself! Plus my legs are still burning from all the zoo/subway walking/stair climbing!
Good night my friends......... or well as of right now.......... good morning :)
Monday, September 23, 2013
Also when on post if your not active duty your not shopping without a ration card! Anyone who is not active duty must carry a ration this controls the substances you buy. Everything is a lot cheaper for us on post then the economy. For example we were in a small grocery store just outside our apartment complex and a box of cereal is like 6-7.00. We can get the big family size boxes cheaper than that. So with the ration card we can be monitored of what we are buying. If I buy 6 family size boxes of cereal a week chances are I am selling to the Koreans to make a profit and I will be under investigation. They really ration our beer and liquor over here. I don't know how that stuff is priced but I do know Collin bought 2 bottles of wine on post, 1 white and 1 red, he spent about $14.00. If he would have bought both of those bottles on the economy it would have been double if not higher. However I guess the other alcohol is worse though because they don't ration our wine only the other stuff.
So basically if you come to visit your not going on post and shopping with us. You cannot even enter the store! So when you come visit just give us your list and we will take care of your must haves before you get here ;)
We don't have a Walmart on post. We have an Emart on the economy but again its more expensive. The Emart is on the first floor of our small mall and seriously looks like a none grocery Walmart but I think is just as big as a grocery walmart. The stores we have on post are very limited as well and none of them sell the diapers with the little yellow strip that turns blue when wet :( but they sell Pampers so I guess I should just be happy with that :) No one sells baby monitors or strollers. We had to go to the furniture store to get the stroller (not as small as an umbrella stroller but smaller than the baby trend that we currently have). The furniture stores carries 1 brand of monitors and the only one it carried was a video one that runs $240.00 Ummmmm no thanks! The monitors I had in Colorado were the cheapest ones we could find at the time from Walmart (Audrey surprised us 5 weeks early) and they eventually just stopped working. So until we get new monitors I will continually get kicked out my King size bed by my daughter. Not daddy, No, he gets a Queen size out of it since Audrey gets as close to mommy as she can without me actually falling out of bed. Today we are going to check the second hand store for monitors or we may just have to wait until payday to go to the emart.
The language barrier seems to be a lot more difficult then I expected. As Collin said most of them speak pretty good English or at least get a short conversation off. The problem is, they don't want to use it. I can't blame them though I mean when people come to America to live we tend to act the same way. If you are going to live here, learn English! If I am going to live here I will need to learn the basics! I am pretty good at converting the money now. I can never get it spot on but I am usually only a buck or two off and its usually for the better. However the thought of ever using that subway system alone makes me look at Collin and say, "We will be just fine in the apartment. No need to go anywhere." or "Hey is that walking distance?" Its annoying when people stare. I get it I am American with my American family but we moved to a different location in the subway because some dude just would not stop starring it creeped me out being the first time this had happened to me but Collin was the one who moved so it most have been even a little creepy for him lol!
Well today is a new day! After Collin gets home we will go and get some things taken care of, reporting our broken furniture that got delivered, getting our Visa's, gas masks, and I am sure many other "Welcome to Korea" things that need to be done. Oh yeah I get to activate my phone today too!!!!! I hope you are all enjoying the football season. Even for the Browns fans and this year it seems to be the Steeler fans as well, learn to enjoy even watching a loss. I forgot the joys of having the choice to watch my team lose or not. I am totally missing sports right now. But just another overcome and adapt mission I suppose! While you all enjoy your last couple of games this week I am preparing to start my Monday! Off to do the dishes..............
Saturday, September 21, 2013
So far on my short travels I have been on post and got my new phone, the Galaxy 3 (Although because of the 3 day Holiday celebration I can't activate it until Monday) I have walked around the Dragon Hotel, which is tons of food and shopping and salons inside :) Collin has taken me out to explore the Apartment area which is 4, 30 story high rises. A,B,C, and D. We live in C! He showed me the parks that are in our apartment area and showed me which gym belongs to building C. We have an indoor driving range in our complex and an indoor mothers room, which is pretty high speed if ya ask me. It has 2 rooms for kids to play in with foam flooring and then it has a little separate nook area with a table and chairs, microwave and sink! Its pretty cute and I think it will be a good place to take Audrey if we ever just need out of the apartment for awhile and maybe I can even meet some other moms! Yesterday we went to the Ipark mall and we were there for a couple hours and I maybe saw a quarter of it. It is the small mall of Seoul and, are you ready for this, it is 8 stories! Did you catch the small mall part in that! Then last night we went to a fairly large patio area outside the apartment complex and I got to meet a few of his friends. One was a soldier of his that will be leaving in a couple weeks and the others were some folks he has met that live in apartment A or B! Rusty and Bonnie. Rusty is an American who works at the fire station at Yongsan and Bonnie, his wife, is Korean but speaks English very well
Today Collin is going to take me to my first Korean restaurant, well first in Korea anyway. I remember we went to one a couple years back in Colorado Springs but I don't remember a thing. Although I do remember the server telling me how impressed she was about Collin's ability to speak Korean! Thank goodness for that too because I don't know how I would make it without him knowing Korean. Everything is written in Korean of course and everyone looks at you and speaks it. I have learned how to say Thank you, and Hello so far although Hello is not clicking in my head right now! I have also learned (on my phone) how to type LOL in Korean! My phone has an option for Korean or English. Ummm yeah I think it will forever be on English mode!
After our Korean lunch we are going to explore the Korean War Memorial! Collin said he has spent hours there before and has only gotten to 1 wing of it. Its all outside and just a quick walk from the apartment. In fact I can see it from where I am sitting on my balcony!
Speaking of walking, I no longer have any fears of getting back in shape. Itewan (sp) and the Ipark mall are also within walking distance and the way I see it, walking is going to be easier than trying to figure out the subway system, and cheaper. There are stairs everywhere so I will more than likely strap Audrey to me if I am a lone going out to explore. Collin on the other hand just picks up the stroller with Audrey in it and carries her up and down the stairs like it's nothing.
Well Collin had to run to work for some paperwork stuff so I am going to jump off here and get the dishes done before he gets back. One nice thing about a small apartment is that its going to be easy to keep it picked up. One night of dishes and the dishes need done. 3 or more things out of place and the apartment looks rough. Although right now it looks really rough because I have not put a single thing away since we got here and I am still just pulling clothes out of the suitcase and wearing them. Tomorrow though is house day so I can try to get somethings organized and picked up!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
As you know I started my day on Monday at 2am finishing up last minute packing, loading the car, and saying our "see you soons" to Nana and Bill. I got to the Killeen-Ft Hood airport around 430 am and turned in my car packed us up and headed in the airport. This time I had 1 big suit case, a rolling back-pack, car seat, diaper bag and baby strapped to the front of me. Much more manageable then before and to my surprise my bag was only 4.5lbs over weight and since I am military I thankfully got that waived. Maybe there is something to this whole rolling your clothes in your luggage instead of folding because I know I had a ton more stuff I crammed into that bag. Anyway the airport was fairly small, in comparison for those of you who know it was bigger than Colorado Springs (an airport of 10 gates) but smaller than Cleveland. Nana was a smart thinker in that even though it will cost me more I should get the already measured powdered formula instead of the already liquid formula for 2 reasons. 1 it would take up less room and 2 security didn't have to take the time to scan all the bottles! It worked. Security was a breeze! In fact almost too easy. I was at my gate earlier than I wanted to be but better early than late I guess. The flight from Killeen to Houston was your typical short 45 minute flight. Tiny aircraft and moderate bumps along the way and a sleeping baby for the whole flight! We were soon hearing "Welcome to Houston!"1 leg down, 2 to go! Bring it on!
The layover in Houston was a bit of annoying one as like in Baltimore I had to walk to the international terminal and it wasn't exactly around the corner and the airport was too small to have a train to take me. Had a found one of those guys on a nifty cart I may have caved and asked for a ride but I didn't see a single one. So I just slowly walked along starving but passing every restaurant knowing that being in the international section and it being all big flights that there would be a couple options to choose from once I arrived at my gate! Man was I wrong. All I had in eye shot range was a one of those juice places and a wall street journal. I like smoothies so I picked Jamba Juice! I got a Banana mixture smoothie a sour dough pretzel and a bottled water. The drink was good, the pretzel was awful and the water well not much to say about water.... half went towards bottles for Audrey and half was consumed by my already worn out body. I made a few last phone calls to my parents, grandparents and sister ate my pretzel, did my best to entertain Audrey and soon was showing our passports waiting to board the aircraft.
As we got to our seats (the Army hooked me up with 2 seats) I got everything put away and sat down nervously awaiting my seat mate. I just hoped for an English speaking American......... or an English speaking foreigner if possible :) I got a little nervous as the few Americans that boarded the plan slowly walked on by and I watched them disappear back into economy seating. Again the Army hooked us up and put us in Economy plus (which buy the way I will ALWAYS fly on long flights). A sigh of semi relief filled me when I saw a tall American man putting his luggage in an overhead compartment in front of me and started to ease his way into 21C. Audrey was 21 A and I was B. My contentment quickly went to a sad state when I could see the look on the follows face as if to say, Oh no! Please tell me I am wrong please tell me I am not really sitting here! He even checked his ticket again and then looked at the seat number that he was sitting in. He looked over at Audrey who was in my arms just waving everyone buy, with a scrunched face and as I said Hello with a smile he took a deep breath and looked the other way not saying a word. Well he everyone ends up talking eventually, after all we will get bored it is a 13-14 hour flight! Wrong this guy didn't say a word to me the entire time let a lone look at me for the whole flight except to say, "You didn't see anything" as he poured liquor into his sparkling water.
About 20 minutes into the flight the flight attendance came by and offered drinks, then about an hour later they offered bbq chicken or some weird entree that I had no clue what it was (after all though I was on a flight to Japan!) I of course went with the bbq chicken. Soon after I ate I joined Audrey in a deep, deep sleep. Something woke me up about an hour into this sleep and I quickly felt as though I would be sick. I looked at Audrey and she was fast asleep laying in the window seat next to me. Starting to sweat and realizing this was not just going to pass, I looked my silent drinking neighbor and said can you watch my daughter for a second I really have to get to the bathroom. He said I will watch but I will not touch. You have got to be kidding me! As I fumbled passed the man now feeling dizzy and hot I looked at the woman in front of me and said could you please watch my daughter she nodded and before she could get a word out I turned and started towards the bathroom............. lights out! I woke up to being at the back of the economy plus near the bathrooms with at least people in my face trying to ask me questions. One was an male American flight attendant holding oxygen on my face saying ma'am, ma'am can you hear me. Ma'am can you open your eyes, ma'am.....
As I squinted my eyes and tried to focus the best I could I mustered up "Yes, my baby where is my baby" in a very slurred and groggy voice. Your baby is fine the woman who you were sitting next to has here and is taking care of her. Forgetting that I even talked to her, in a panic I said I wasn't sitting next to any woman just an American man. The man said he would check on her and went off. Again I must have slipped into a sleep for a few minutes or something cause I felt a tapping on my shoulder and in very broken English heard, Ma'am I need of you to focus, I am doctor on flight, I need of you to focus. Then heard we need and IV her blood pressure is not rising. After confusion of finding out some woman was taking care of my daughter and hearing that my blood pressure had bottomed out and a recap of what happened I then realized I was laid out in the aisle way of and had a ton of faces from all around the world starring at me wondering what happened to me, some looked concerned for me and others looked petrified. I was so embarrassed and just kept answering health questions and thinking Did this really just happen, am I really laying here being scrutinized, did this really just happen, what will Collin think, where is Audrey God please whoever is watching over her keep her protected! Can this woman even speak English to my daughter.... through all these thoughts I must have put myself into a deeper panic as I heard "Her blood pressure drop even worse get approval she need IV!" coming from the passenger medic. I was getting a Chinese oil applied to my foot and someone beating on the soles of my feet saying something about with this Chinese medicine you will feel better! Interesting. Next thing I know a passenger nurse is preparing the IV. OUCH! Through my hand seriously!" Even longer story short 2 IV bags later 1 1/2 tanks of Oxygen and 2 hours later I was back in my seat holding on to Audrey. I asked to take the oxygen off as I think it was scaring her a bit and was so happy to have the IV out as she just wanted to pull on that line and it hurt more and more with every grab. Houston to Tokyo was a very very eventful flight but nearing the end of the flight I looked at my now tipsy seatmate and said, "I am really sorry for everything that happened on this flight." His reply was "YEAH" I asked the lady if there was anything I could do to thank her for all the help with my daughter and off even tried to offer her some cash I had in my wallet. She declined and gave me a big smile and said, "It was my pleasure. Your daughter is such a delight! I really enjoyed her and prayed for you while you were being taken care of." Feeling happy I smiled back thanked her again and said, "I thank God for you, I was so worried about who she was with and I couldn't have asked for better!" After a couple more hours I was relieved to hear in Japanese then in English that we were preparing to land in Tokyo!
Once getting off of the aircraft I had to go back through a security check with my bags. I didn't mind much except I don't think the people who ran the airport believed in a/c and with the rest of the herded people through the lines was feeling very hot and very uncomfortable. Not to mention I didn't see an American in sight. As I cleared security a woman was waiting with a sign that had my name in big bright Orange letters. I looked at her in question.... someone knows an American is coming through and is offering help?! She told me that she "Don't know English much" and pointed to a wheel chair. I realized that someone had notified this woman that I passed out on the plane and they were offering a wheel chair for me. In my best English I said, "No thank you ma'am I am doing much better now." Then I realized Hey dummy she has no idea what you just said so I looked at her again with a smile shook my head no and gave her a thumbs up to try to let her know that I was fine and didn't need a wheel chair. She looked and said, "You don't need?" Then "OK" and walked off shrugging her shoulders with the wheel chair to find her next passenger. I should have taken the wheel chair and let her get me to my gate because it was not very easy navigating my way through I really just want another American to confirm what I am doing! The screen that listed all the flights and gates switched over to English and I went through the list finding a few Seoul flights but none of them mine. Then before I found my final flight it switched back to Japanese. I waited for a bit and again it flashed in Englished........ Gate 27.... awesome I am soooooooooooooooooo on my way to sit and wait for hours. I just want to be home!
During the remainder of my 5 hour layover Audrey and I went to the bathroom and got cleaned up and freshened up, watched several young soldiers join the wait, got some water at a near by shop, spoke to a Korean Woman from Seoul who offered some help with my journey and mentioned the places to shop and nearby churches and informed me that it will be a hard transition living off post but she could tell I was a strong woman and said that she believed I would be just fine!
Emotions took control of my body as I heard the lady at the counter confirm that we would be boarding for Seoul in 10 minutes! Tears filled my eyes. I can't even fully describe it. I was exhausted, embarrassed, tired, overwhelmed with the lack of Americans (and all I could think about was my new home and lack of Americans) but so desperately wanting to be safe in my husbands arms! As I showed our passports and gave our tickets to be scanned a very young very pretty Asian girl said, I heard you were having some problems we have been instructed to monitor you through out this flight. Laughing to myself I just shook my head and said, "Thank you!" At least United takes care of their people. Once on flight I was immediately given water and asked if there was anything I needed. We soon received our Custom and Immigration forms and after filling those out I fell fast asleep for a solid hour. Once I woke up excitement filled me so much to the point of not sitting still and my heart pounding. I looked at the in flight monitors and saw that in 22 minutes I would be on the ground, on Korean soil!
Audrey had been amazing fussed off and on but only cried twice, once when she finally saw mommy and I think the oxygen scared her on the Tokyo flight but was fine again once back in my arms and then again AFTER the plane touched down in Seoul!
Once off the flight I got down to the train that would take me to Immigration, baggage, customs and then to the gates of my husband! As we were waiting for a train I heard a small voice from a young boy yell DADDY, DAAAAADY! Everyone laughed and the mother explained that his daddy wasn't far off but not waiting at the train. We engaged in conversation and we were both moving to the area to be with our Army husbands. I hope she is in Yongsan, it will be nice to see a familiar face from time to time. We got on the train and became disconnected. Finally I see the mile long lines for immigration. As I stood in line hoping I choose the right one a Korean airport official came and motioned me in another direction....... ugh what now? He pointed me to a speedy line for Korean entries and said, "You wait there" Ha no problem there was only 1 person in front of me here and to my surprised it was the woman and her young boy! We talked as they were being approved and once again said good luck to each other and she departed. After a series of questions I departed as well! One step closer to being done. Next up baggage claim! After about 5 minutes I saw the familiar face a crossed the way grabbing her bags and moving towards customs.... then finally I found Audrey's broken car seat. Slightly upset but at this point I could care less. Luggage was being unloaded just the same as in America and I watched several people grab their belongings and walk away as I was starting to panic that my big purple suit case has been lost. There was only about a dozen people left and no sight of my bag. There was a soldier next to me who was also getting concerned. I heard a click and realized that the first conveyor belt stopped. I looked at the soldier and said, "Well it's either here or its not! The last bag has been unloaded." Finally I saw a big purple bag and smiled. The soldier helped me get the over weight bag off the belt and soon he was reaching for his. I saw a sign that read Customs and dashed in that direction. almost done! I handed the lady my paper and looked at Gate D! Then I saw what appeared to be khaki shorts and the bottom of a white jersey stand up and disappear. I saw the legs walk away and just knew it had to be my husband. The gate opened and the tears started to fill my eyes! It was my husband and I am home!!!
Friday, September 13, 2013
Wow what a couple of emotional days. Yesterday I left Ohio with a few things in my head. One was the overwhelming feeling of acceptance I revieved from THE CITY and the love that was shown. Two was the heart wrenching sadness of saying "see you soon" to my family. The third was the excitement of being one step closer to hubby.
After arriving in Dallas I suddenly became very frustrated. As I got to the rental car building, Audrey started to get really fussy. I did my best to console her while taking care of the car knowing what a long day it had been. The man behind the counter said that he would pull the car around for me. As I began to walk out the door with a wiggle worm in one arm and 2 diaper bags on the other the gentleman said you just take care of the baby I will do the rest. I nodded and sighed with a slight giggle knowing I had to have looked beat down by this point, despite the humming of Our Father and the fading smile that was on my face. All I could think of was 2 1/2 hours and we are done. God please give me 3 more hours of energy!!!! Is all I could muster up at this point. And the journey began.
15 minutes down the road Audrey let out a scream I have never heard before followed by intense crying. I quickly stopped in a grocery store parking lot as I heard bubba bubba. All this for a bottle. She just ate an hour and 30 minutes ago. I promptly made the bottle scooped her up and fed her. She spit the bottle back out and seemed content after only 2 ounces. I then placed her back in her seat and began driving. Then I hit bumper to bumper traffic and within 20 minutes the shriek of crying started back up. I had nowhere to go and pleaded with Audrey to please hold on. There was no calming her, so I reached back to rub her tear soaked cheek when my hand brushed the corner of her mouth.... teething.... I thought so I slipped my finger on to her gums and too my surprise I felt a tooth!!! I stopped once outside traffic, changed her, gave her some meds, fed her until she was calm, then as she fell asleep got her back in her seat and drove for about another 30 minutes until the screaming once again rattled the car. With a deep breath I wondered if I would ever make it to Na'ans and grandpa Bill's house. I pulled off into the back of a well lit IHOP parking lot and we went through our routine again. As Audrey was falling asleep the unexpected happened. A cop pulled in behind me. He quickly pointed out a sign that read.... for guests only, all others will be towed. Apparently I was not in the IHOP parking lot but in the Comfort Inn parking lot and the owner called the cops on me. An hour and a half later I reached my destination thanks to the GPS. Words of celebration. HOWEVER MY 10 MONTH OLD HAS HER FIRST TOOTH!!! After we got to bed I honestly dont know who fell asleep faster.
Today started out as a normal day. Was up by 830 and greeted with warm smiles by the neighbors and was quickly brought amazing coffee with whipped cream while feeding my little teething baby! My kind of morning! Later I discovered the town that I now consider home was once again under attack. Not by the heat of flames but this time by down pour of rain. I checked Facebook and sure enough my brother Andrew was posting video of his honeymoon and the devastating flooding that was starting to occur. I called him and he assured me at the the time they were fine. I told him to call me if things changed and once we hung up I made 1 phone call to my friend John and just as I thought he assured me that if needed he had a bedroom all lined up for them.
As I am following the flood tonight I see more lives have been taken and more people are missing.
Coloradians, visitors and friends I am praying. We have seen so much devastation in just a few short years! Hang in there and keep faith. My heart breaks for each and everyone of you who have had homes burnt down and homes flooded out. I have so many amazing memories and along with many of you are watching memories be destroyed by these disasters. I love you all be safe.
Please remember Colorado in your prayers!
Time for sleep and hoping that tomorrow is a very low key day!
Monday, September 9, 2013
Wow what a weekend! It started off with the drive to Pittsburgh to pick up Kim. My simply amazing, hilarious, beautiful sister. It was so great to have her around for the weekend. She was totally the life of the party haha. Saturday night all the girls stayed in the same room and it was perfect. Although Sunday morning was a bit rough as our mother kept us up until 0200.
Over the entire weekend we got to see our cousins Paul and Tifany, grandma, poppy and Darlene, Denise, Alec, and Hannah and Justin and Luaren all together as we celebrated the amazing wedding of my brother Andrew and his new wife Sarah.
It was a series of events starting with the pick up of Kim to the rehearsal dinner to the wedding to dropping her off at the airport today. Which is were the emotions really started to hit. Saturday after the wedding I said "see ya later" to Andrew and Sarah which became very hard considering I don't know when I might see them again but when Sunday came it hit even harder. Kim and I are pretty close and it was already bothering me that I didn't get to see her boys this weekend, but when she moved forward and onto security and we started walking away it crushed me.
I have this feeling that the next 2 days will be torture. Tomorrow I need to unpack from the weekend and repack for Wednesday. I cant wait to be with my husband but the hurt it my heart that I am feeling isn't going to make things easy.
Right now I'm just really holding on to the blessings in our lives. Audrey has met all her grandparents, most aunts and uncles, cousins, and even her biological grandma this year. I was able to quit my job so all this could be happening and besides a few small colds and allergy issues we have been pretty healthy through all the travel. Thank you to all my friends and family who have support us especially through these past 7 months.... 8 days to go......
oh and if have not seen it go to YouTube and search Collin Shorey and there you will find a video of the Seoul apartment and we will post another once I'm over there. Also for your enjoyment check out the other video a soldiers prayer. That was a song he wrote for chapel in Iraq.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
We are now 14 days out and its getting to be an emotional roller coaster ride already. I simply cannot wait to see Collin and be with my loving and supporting husband again, but most of all I can't wait for Audrey and daddy to be together again. The best part about it is that I can actually feel the excitement vibes from Collin, something, that even upon his return from Iraq I did not sense. I knew he was excited, but this time I can totally feel it and almost hear it in his texts. The hard part is knowing that I'm so far away from everyone we love. Our friends and family are no longer going to be a 24 hour drive or less or a few hours on a plane. That part is already making me hurt and I know our family (Shearer's and Shorey's) will all be needing prayers for comfort.
I can't promise perfect writing skills and I can't promise over the top excitement but I can promise to keep you all updated as much as possible through our laughs, frustrations, tears, and adventures.
Thank you all for being such a big part of our lives and if you want to continue the journey feel free to tag along and read about our little family in a big new city!